It is still African-American History month, and I’m not finished “Cellibrating” yet!
Academy Award winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o made history with her performance in Steve McQueen’s, “Twelve Years a Slave,” as the young slave girl, Patsey. She arrived on the scene with warm cocoa colored skin, a flash of perfect white teeth, and a springy coif of curly black hair cropped short to accentuate her uniquely beautiful Kenyan features.
Her accomplishments are as follows:
1. Nyong’o is the first Kenyan and first Mexican actress to win an Academy Award.
2. First Black African to win in any category of the Academy Awards.
3. Second Black actor to win for a debut performance, in the 86th Annual Academy Awards (2014).
Lupita created a stir with her unapologetic, fearless, natural beauty and continues to influence the world’s perception about what and who defines beauty. In her acceptance speech she references what it feels like to be considered “different”. She says,”When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid…” Her style, grace, and elegance are impeccable. Lupita is considered to be one of today’s foremost style icons.
This year, Lupita Nyong’o WINS AGAIN! Nyong’o takes the prize for the most talked about, most beautiful, and probably the most expensive gown ever worn by an actress at an Academy Awards Ceremony. This year, Nyong’o left everyone breathless at the 87th Annual Academy Awards Red Carpet event, when she arrived in a custom designed Calvin Klein Collection, hand-beaded cultured pearl gown, a unique and original design.
87th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony Presenter-Calvin Klein Collection
87th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony Presenter-6,000 Pearls est. $150k
87th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony Presenter-Natural Pearl Hand Beaded Gown
The beautiful custom gown was created by Francisco Costa and featured cascading strands of 6,000 pearls and was paired with Chopard jewels adorning Nyong’o’s ears.
The price of the pearls alone were estimated at $150,000 USD, according to Fortune magazine (2015). The man hours, additional bead work and sequins could possibly tip the scale by an additional $100k USD. That’s one expensive, and luxurious gown, Lupita! Beauty defined…Bravo!
Ahhhh…”the good ole days”…my parents and grandparents always shared stories of fancy supper clubs featuring famous performers. The gents would be wearing their finest silk suits and lovely ladies would be dressed in their opulent evening gowns. Here are a few images from the time when the music was sweet and the dancing was smooth.
Let’s take a stroll through some Historic Black Glamour through photographs.
“Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an American singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of sixteen and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, where she had small parts in numerous movies, and more substantial parts in the films Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. Because of the Red Scare and her left-leaning political views, Horne found herself blacklisted and unable to get work in Hollywood.Her career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television and on broadway.”
Hazel Dorothy Scott (June 11, 1920 – October 2, 1981) was an internationally known, American jazz and classicalpianist and singer; she also performed as herself in several films. She was prominent as a jazz singer throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In 1950, she became the first woman of color to have her own TV show, The Hazel Scott Show,featuring a variety of entertainment. To evade the political persecution of artists in the McCarthy era, Scott moved to Paris in the late 1950s and performed in France, not returning to the United States until 1967.
Born in Port of Spain, Hazel was taken at the age of four by her mother to New York. Recognized early as a musical prodigy, Scott was given scholarships from the age of eight to study at the Juilliard School. She began performing in a jazz band in her teens and was performing on radio at age 16.
Actress and singer Sheila Guyse, best known for her role in the 1947 film “Sepia Cinderella,” died on December 28, 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 88. Ms. Guyse was born Etta Drucille Guyse on July 14, 1925, in Forest, Mississippi. After winning the amateur night competition at the Apollo Theater, she appeared in Broadway musicals like “Finian’s Rainbow” (1947) and “Lost in the Stars” (1949) along with several other film appearances including “Miracle In Harlem” in 1948.
There is much more where this came from! Join the “cellibration” of Black History Month, here at http://www.cellibration.com. I call it African American History Month because it is important for me to emphasize and pay homage to African culture and American culture through literature, history, photographs, prose, and more.
If you are a lover of all things vintage, like me, check out the book “Vintage Black Glamour” by Nichelle Gainer. She has curated hundreds of vintage photos documenting African-American culture and the arts. It will be a beautiful coffee table book or conversation piece at your next event. Check it out!